The human microbiome is comprised of the microbes that live on and within an individual, as well as immediately surrounding them. Microbial profiling may have forensic utility in the identification or association of individuals with criminal activities, using microbial signatures derived from a personal microbiome. This review highlights some important aspects of recent studies, many of which have revealed issues involving the effect of contamination of microbial samples from both technical and environmental sources and their impacts on microbiome research and the potential forensic applications of microbial profiling. It is imperative that these challenges be discussed and evaluated within a forensic context to better understand the future directions and potential applications of microbial profiling for human identification. It is necessary that the limitations identified be resolved prior to the adoption of microbial profiling, or, at a minimum, acknowledged by those applying this new approach.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited